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Trump is still ‘cherry-picking’ the coronavirus numbers to make himself look good: report

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Writing for Politico on Saturday, Anita Kumar noted that President Donald Trump suffers from a “scoreboard mentality” that requires him to break down the world into numbers and earn the best ones — and that mentality has not equipped him to offer meaningful leadership in a global pandemic.

“President Donald Trump is always keeping score,” wrote Kumar. “Sometimes it’s a simple brag — boasting about the highest State of the Union TV ratings in history, trumpeting that he appointed more judges than George Washington, inflating the number of electoral college votes he won in 2016. But cherry-picked numbers are also central to how Trump comprehends a crisis and crafts a positive narrative. As the coronavirus raced around the globe and seized the world’s economy, he has cited numbers to suit his own story that the pandemic would quickly pass and that his administration was in control.”

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As an example, in February, Trump bragged the United States had only 15 coronavirus cases, and that number would soon be zero (there are now over 14,000 cases). And he pledged to offer 1.4 million coronavirus tests by mid-March (only 100,000 have been administered).

“Public health specialists say Trump’s use of misleading numbers to downplay the coronavirus outbreak — a challenge that could make-or-break his presidency — has had dangerous consequences, leading Americans to ignore official warnings about modifying behaviors to slow the disease’s spread,” wrote Kumar.

“He’s a man that hears what he wants to hears … and he puts it through the lens of a marketer. He is a marketer,” said American Public Health Association executive director Georges Benjamin. “His image is, ‘I’m on top of this, I’m tough,’ and anything he hears that supports that theory of the case, he grabs and utilizes.”

This is nothing new. Trump routinely brags about, and inflates, everything from his crowd size to the margin of his electoral college victory. But inflating a number does not change it, and nowhere is this truer than in a pandemic.

You can read more here.

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Trump issues new threat to schools if they refuse to reopen in the fall despite deadly pandemic

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President Donald Trump is doubling down on his threat to cut funding from schools that decided to remain closed this fall during the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.

Writing on Twitter, the president appeared to walk back his own administration's efforts to walk back his earlier threats to cut off funding for schools that don't reopen on schedule.

"Now that we have witnessed it on a large scale basis, and firsthand, Virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning," the president wrote. "Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!"

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White House sidelining medical experts for ‘too much focus on public health’: AP reporter

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President Donald Trump and other White House officials are reportedly tuning out public health experts -- who they believe are "deep state Democrats" who aren't working against the president's re-election.

The Washington Post reported that officials with the Centers for Disease Control are feeling pressure from the president to sign off on reopening schools and businesses despite dire coronavirus risks, and Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that's what he's hearing, as well.

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2020 Election

‘Betrayal’: Trump fuming over Brett Kavanaugh voting with majority in tax return cases

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According to Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press, Donald Trump is reportedly focusing his ire on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, along with Neil Gorsuch,  for siding with the majority of justices who ruled on Thursday that the state of New York must be given his tax returns as part of a criminal investigation.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" with co-host Willie Geist, Lemire was asked how the president -- and the White House -- are reacting to the setback for the president.

"You're at the White House, it's either a witch hunt or a big win depending on who you ask," host Geist began. "[Trump attorney] Jay Sekulow is also calling it a win. The president doesn't want his tax returns, financial records to see the light of day particularly before election day. What's the concern now with the two 7-2 decisions?"

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